Saturday, February 21, 2009

Laissez les bon temps rouler!

While Joe took Dylan to the Chicago Auto Show today (he'll blog all about that later), Matthew and I did some bonding of our shopping and cooking! Seriously, two of my favorite things to do.

Since Mardi Gras is coming up, I decide to roll up my sleeves and try making jambalaya for the first time. I love Cajun food, especially gumbo, but I was inspired to make jambalaya when we were at our friends, Lisa and Brian's place recently for Super Bowl. They served us some great jambalaya. Brian's jambalaya is so good in fact, that he swears it was what won Lisa's hand in marriage. Now that is some kick ass rice!

I wouldn't dare try such a prize winning recipe, instead, I used a turkey jambalaya recipe from Chef Paul Prudhomme's Fork in the Road cookbook, which has healthier versions of his amazing recipes. I ate at his K-Paul Louisiana Kitchen restaurant when I was in New Orleans once and it was probably one of the best meals I have ever had. Our group sat across from Kathleen Turner, who was sitting right up next to the bread warmer. The bread warmer! We couldn't believe they sat her there, it was the worst seat in the house. Another table offered to pay for our dinner if we'd switch places with them, so that they could ogle her while she ate. We were like, no way, we had the best seats in the house and weren't giving it up, even for a free meal.

To start the jambalaya, first mix the dry seasonings and set aside. Then cut up your veggies for the base; celery, onion and green bell pepper, or as the natives like to call it, the holy trinity of Cajun cuisine.

The secret of cooking rice, in my opinion, is that you don't lift the lid off the pot until the rice is totally finished. No peeking! Also, I always use a timer. My jambalaya didn't have a crusty bottom like I like, (at times like these, I really wish I had a Dutch oven!) but it was super spicy and pretty good for my first attempt. There was enough jambalaya to feed an army. 

Let the good times roll!

Here is our menu plan for the week.
Turkey Jambalaya
Vietnamese Braised Pork and Eggs in Caramel recipe from White on Rice Couple
Shrimp and Chicken Gumbo (I'll try to blog about this one)
Tomato Basil Bruschetta and mixed green salad

Again, I am trying to utilize some raw ingredients from the fridge and pantry: tomatoes, eggs, pork, shrimp, Italian bread, salad greens, rice, peppers, celery, onions, turkey.

Sandwich as art: The Muffuletta. Our lunch today. nom nom nom.


dp said...

I've never made jambalaya either. It sure looks good! My problem is I'm terrible at making rice apart from steamed rice and fried rice. If I make risotto, the rice always seems blown out and mushy, kwim?

QGIRL said...

dp: I've never made a risotto that wasn't from a box!
Perhaps it is the type of rice you are using. ?? Or the pot you are using? or maybe you just need to give it a little more TLC, lots of stirring and knowing when to add the broth.
Rice is a temperamental ingredient!